Gray whales heading toward Alaska waters

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The migration of gray whales from the Baja Peninsula in Mexico to waters off Alaska is well under way.

The first gray whale of the season was spied cruising through Cheval Narrows at the mouth of Resurrection Bay near Seward on April 1 by the crew and tourists aboard the Kenai Explorer, said Leslie Hines, education coordinator for the Kenai Fjords Tours.

We are seeing them on a regular basis. With whales, you have to be in the right place at the right time,'' she said. Hines notified Journey North, an organization that posts online updates on the spring movements of a dozen species across North America.

The next day, six more grays were seen swimming in the outer portion of Resurrection Bay. The day after that, federal biologist Kathy Hough reported seeing at least 13 gray whales during an aerial survey near Kodiak Island.

Every spring, gray whales travel up the Pacific Coast from Mexico in one of the world's longest whale migrations, a 5,000-mile journey that ultimately takes them to summer feeding grounds in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Over the past few years, Journey North has tracked the passage of an estimated 20,000 whales as they surface along the California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia coasts, then broadcasts Alaska's first report to the world.

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